Next-Generation Technology and Electoral Democracy: Understanding the Changing Environment

Special Report

March 23, 2022

Democracies around the world are facing growing threats to their electoral systems in the digital age. Foreign interference in the form of dis- and misinformation has already influenced the results of democratic elections and altered the course of history. This special report, the result of a research project conducted in partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Canada, examines these cyberthreats from a Canadian and German perspective. Both Canada and Germany share common goals centred around protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and international peace and security. Using case studies from experts in fields such as computer science, law and public policy, the special report offers recommendations to guide policy makers and stakeholders on how to protect elections from next-generation technologies and the threats they pose to democracy.

About the Authors

Samantha Bradshaw is a CIGI fellow and a leading expert on technology and democracy. Her research concerns the politics embedded in information and communication technologies, and how political actors exploit these affordances for propaganda and persuasion.

Kailee Hilt is a research associate at CIGI, where her primary responsibilities involve contributing to the planning and execution of research output and providing advanced research support.

Eric Jardine is a CIGI fellow and an assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech. Eric researches the uses and abuses of the dark web, measuring trends in cybersecurity, how people adapt to changing risk perceptions when using new security technologies, and the politics surrounding anonymity-granting technologies and encryption.

Florian Kerschbaum is associate professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo and director of the Waterloo Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute.

Ulrike Klinger is the chair for digital democracy at the European New School of Digital Studies in Frankfurt, Germany, and an associated researcher at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society in Berlin, Germany.

Michael Pal is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, where he is the director of the Public Law Group. He specializes in the comparative law of democracy and comparative constitutional law. He has advised governments at all levels on election and constitutional law.

A practising lawyer, Aaron Shull is CIGI’s managing director and general counsel. In addition to advising on a range of domestic legal and corporate matters, he has substantive expertise in international law, global security and internet governance.

Wesley Wark is a CIGI senior fellow.